Aerogel: JetCutter Tech

Week #13: The Technology To Make The Aerogel Beads

Carlos Manuel Jarquín Sánchez
4 min readOct 26, 2022

Preface ✨

Hello everyone!

My intentions for writing these articles are:

  • Explain technical information about aerogels in simple terms (to the public)
  • Store information and habits for my future self and others (in <7 minutes)

Coolio? Sweet. Enjoy the series :-)

Dilemma Resolved ☑️

Sometimes, there’s trouble deciding what technology would create the aerogel beads. The non-negotiables for the technology were:

  • Bead Production Rate ≥ 1.0 Grams/Second
  • Produce Round Beads (Near-Zero Deformation)
  • Bead Size [3 millimeters - 5 millimeters]
  • High-Viscosity Alginate Solution

Only “Jet-Cutter Technology” satisfied all the requirements.


Droplet generation by the JetCutter technologies is due to the mechanical slicing of a liquid solution and rotating cutting wires that are installed in a cutting tool.

The photo above demonstrates the cutting tools creating the millimeter beads for a filter.

Time for some modifications…

How To Use JetCutter Technologies ✏️

You should desire beads between 3–5 millimeters in diameter. The droplet size depends primarily on the nozzle diameter (where the liquid escapes), the rotation frequency of the cutting tool (blades), & the diameter of the rotating cutting wires.

JetCutter Technologies has two modes of operating:

  • Normal Mode (top release-to-bottom landing)
  • Soft-Landing Mode (diagonal release and high-bottom landing)

Choose to implement the soft-landing mode for its bead production.


  1. The speed at which the bead enters the fluid/water bath using the soft-landing method reduces the rise (dramatically) of bead damage & deformation.
  2. It slightly produces more beads than normal-landing mode JetCutter technologies (gram/second).

A tendency is noticed with the content of sodium alginate mass (the base material) in the aerogel beads. Stronger mechanical properties of the bead occur when the sodium alginate mass is between 2% - 3%.

A prerequisite for bead production by JetCutter Technology is that the solid-fluid jet pressed out of a nozzle is maintained until it is cut by the rotating cutting wires.

But this can only be achieved at a high (fast) fluid velocity.

Decide that the fluid velocity range for bead production will be between 10 meters/second - 20 meters/second.

The JetCutter can go between 5 m/s - 30m/s, but you don’t need to exceed these limits.

Droplets of high-viscosity fluids stay intact when entering the gelation bath due to their higher cohesion.

Viscosity is a measure of a fluid’s resistance to flow (its thickness) out of a cup, beaker, table, etc.

  • Molecule size is thicker & stronger bonds when the viscosity increases.
  • Temperature is the most important factor in changing viscosity. Liquid viscosity decreases as the temperature increases.
  • Low-Viscosity Fluids: Flows Easily On Surfaces (e.g. water), low friction
  • High-Viscosity Fluids: Does Not Flow Easily On Surfaces (e.g. chocolate syrup)

Cohesion is a measure of how well identical molecules stick to each other.

  • Water is a good cohesive molecule when bonding with other water molecules.
  • Do not get confused with adhesion: it’s a measure of how well unidentical molecules stick to each other.

JetCutter Technologies Final Results 📋

The average bead production rate (g/s) for the JetCutter soft-landing mode is 1.3 grams/second.

Beads can be produced with 2–3% of the bead containing sodium alginate mass.

Sodium Alginate is a high-viscous material because of its strong intermolecular bonds & its molecular complexity.

The optimized bead size (3 mm - 5 mm) can be achieved by replacing the nozzle diameter with a more desirable size.


Note: “Throughput” means the amount of material that is processed in a certain amount of time.

Processing one gram of sodium alginate (solution) took less than one second & one kilogram can be processed in about ten minutes using JetCutter Technologies.

Production rates with JetCutter are about 200–500 times higher with low-viscosity alginate solutions.

Production rates with JetCutter are about 1400–20000 times higher for high-viscosity alginate solutions. 💥

The main lab bead manufacturing technology is confirmed. ✔️

Connect →🔗



© 2023 by Carlos Manuel Jarquín Sánchez. All Rights Reserved.